All photos and text by Jack Rothman
All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Copyright 2014

Updated 12/14/14

Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

Save Forests and Save Birds

Ancient Boreal forests are being cut down for 
Toilet Tissue, Paper Towels and Catalogs!

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Birding Advocacy

More than 80,000 people have viewed this page.

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.

Photos and Results of Our Past Walks
2007- 2010

Winter Bird Walk- January 9
First Spring Walk- April 17
Easter Walk- April 24
Split Rock-Mother’s Day Walk- May 7 
Turtle Cove “Watch”- June 26
Raptor and Waterfowl Walk- Nov. 27
Owl Walk- March 24
Owlet Walk April 15, 2012
Spring “Migration Madness” Walk- May 6
Clapper Rail Walk- May 27   
Fall Migration Walk- Sept. 23, 2012
Migration Walk- October 14, 2012
Last Minute Barred Owl Walk- Dec. 9, 2012
Bronx Brooklyn Walk- January 12
Spring Migration Walk- May 5
Three Club Walk-  August 24
Fall Migration Walk 2013
Owlet Walk- April 13
Spring Migration Walk -May 10
Fall Migration Walk-October 12
After Thanksgiving Walk- Nov. 20Previous_Birdwalks.htmlWinter_Bird_Walk.htmlEarly_Spring_Migration_Walk.htmlEaster_Walk.htmlSplit_Rock-_Mothers_Day_Walk.htmlTurtle_Cove_%22Watch%22.htmlRaptor_and_Waterfowl_Walk.htmlOwl_Walk.htmlOwlet_Walk.htmlMigration_Madness.htmlClapper_Rail_walk.htmlFall_Migration_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2012.htmlbarred_Owl_Walk.htmlBronx_Brooklyn_Walk.htmlSpring_Migration_2013.htmlThree_Club_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2013.htmlOwlet_Walk_2014.htmlSpring_Migration_2014.htmlFall_Migration_2014.htmlAfter-Thanksgiving.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0shapeimage_9_link_1shapeimage_9_link_2shapeimage_9_link_3shapeimage_9_link_4shapeimage_9_link_5shapeimage_9_link_6shapeimage_9_link_7shapeimage_9_link_8shapeimage_9_link_9shapeimage_9_link_10shapeimage_9_link_11shapeimage_9_link_12shapeimage_9_link_13shapeimage_9_link_14shapeimage_9_link_15shapeimage_9_link_16shapeimage_9_link_17shapeimage_9_link_18shapeimage_9_link_19shapeimage_9_link_20shapeimage_9_link_21


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


City Island?
Pelham Bay Park Map
City Island Community
Directions Here
City Island Birding ClubCIB_Club.html

A duck out water is this Gadwall. He was standing near the shoreline at Hunter Island.

This is a non-breeding Common Loon photographed off the rocks at Twin Island in the park. We get both Common and Red-throated Loon here.

Chasing Birds... not for the impatient

I’m not much of a bird chaser, or “twitcher” as the Brits call birdwatchers who travel great distances to see new birds only to “twitch” them off a life list. However, there were some relatively rare birds nearby and a few of us decided to try for them. Out at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn was a Cassin’s Kingbird and a Le Conte’s Sparrow, both very good looking birds. The Cassin’s is a southwestern bird and it being here was the second record for New York State. The Le Conte’s Sparrow is a difficult bird to find and see because it usually skulks in high grass. It’s generally found much further south in winter, so it was a rarity. Out at Five Mile Island in New Rochelle was a Black-headed Gull, another hard to find bird. So there were three rarities to find that day.

A few of us decided to meet and find these birds. When we arrived, the sparrow had been seen but flew off. The Cassin’s Kingbird was also nowhere to be found. However, patience is needed and we divided up. Cellphones come in handy. So, some of us waited for the Cassin’s to reappear in one location, while others waited for the Le Conte’s in another. Then we received a call that the Cassin’s was found. So we jumped into the car and scooted over to see it. Actually the bird was quite cooperative and we all had some great looks and took photos. About 30 minutes later the Le Conte’s was relocated as well and we spent at least an hour trying to get a decent look at this skulker. Actually it was lots of fun. There were lots of other birders there too, many I knew, so it was lots of bird talk and socializing. On the was home, we extended our trip to New Rochelle and were able to find the Black-headed Gull. Unlike other days, where I stood unsuccessfully out in the freezing cold at Point Lookout for six hours waiting for a Grace’s Warbler or the 12 hours on two occasions for a Gyrfalcon in Lido Beach, this was an easy twitch.

A male Eastern Bluebird showed up near the watery spot as the Hunter Island trail meets Orchard Beach. I was excited to see it. I t would be nice to have them nesting here.

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

The Kazimiroff Nature Trail of Hunter Island
You may have noticed the new signs posted along the paths on Hunter island. The numbers correlate to different features of the “Island.” If you link below, you can find out what each sign post means. Dr. Kazimiroff was a noted Bronx naturalist. The trail marked in his honor winds through the largest and most natural of all of NYC parks. This area was once hunting and fishing grounds and the site of huge mansions. To find out more, print and bring the guide with you on your next walk. Kazimiroff Trail.pdf


Another duck out of water is this Redhead. We don’t usually find them near the park but they show up a little farther north in Edith Read Sanctuary in Rye. I took this photo in Texas in April 2013.

Bronx-Westchester Christmas Bird Count
December 28, 2014
Join us for this important “citizen science” event.
For more information contact me,

This is the Cassin’s Kingbird. It was a cloudy overcast day and the bird was AWOL at first but eventually showed.

This is a photo of the Le Conte’s Sparrow, taken by Gerry McGee. It was really difficult to photograph this bird, as it stayed low in the reedy grass. My photos were merely blurs but Gerry got this terrific shot. As you can see, this is one pretty sparrow.

Huge Raft of Scaup and....

A huge raft of mostly Greater Scaup are between Hunter and Twin Islands. It’s worth the walk over to see this massive gathering of waterfowl. I’m guessing about 2000 Scaup and an additional 1500 Brant. There is a lot of other nice stuff to see, Common Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, American Black Duck, Horned Grebe, Mallard, Great Cormorant, Ring-billed, Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls.

There were also three Harbor Seals sunning themselves on the outcroppings.

The best surprise was a male Eastern Bluebird that flew nearby just as I exited the trail. It’s been years since I’ve seen one in the park.